Boro presidents at war over waterfront Ferris wheel

September 10, 2012 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The borough president of Staten Island wants to bring the world’s largest Ferris wheel (which he calls an observation wheel) to the island — but Borough President Marty Markowitz wants it for Coney Island.

Staten Island’s James Molinaro said developers approached him two years ago about erecting the 600-foot-tall wheel at St. George, the northernmost part of the island, “and I said I was 110 percent for it.”

The wheel, which would have enclosed passenger capsules, is modeled after the gigantic London Eye, which is 443 feet tall, towers over the River Thames, and is said to be Britain’s most popular paid tourist attraction — visited by more than 3.5 million people annually.

Coney Island USA President Dick Zigun also advocated for Coney Island, saying that the city has already spent millions to enhance the boardwalk, which makes it a better location for the wheel than Staten Island, the Staten Island Advance reported. If erected in Coney Island, it would join the Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone roller coaster, Luna Park and other tourists attractions there.

Molinaro told the Eagle that reports of sniping between the two borough presidents are exaggerated.

“Look, Markowitz is a good friend of mine,” he said, “and I would expect him to fight for his community. I understand where the man is coming from — he’s a hard-working elected official.”

He added that “The people I’ve spoken to who’ve had the experience of going on the London Eye were delighted. They say it’s a great ride, one they’ll never forget.”

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